This week it's all gold for Kylie’s comeback, the Manics tread stadium-rock waters and Eels are in impressive form after a four-year break
Kylie Minogue - Golden. Kylie is our adopted national treasure, her enduring appeal inspiring devotion in her fans. As she approaches 50, her golden year, she begins afresh with a change of label with this, her 14th studio album.
Recorded in Nashville, there is a touch of the Dolly Partons to this collection, but it’s still quintessentially Kylie.
Lead single Dancing has proved to be a grower, its subject matter a reflection on enjoying life while you can.
There are lots of whooping and stomping beats, but this is also a very personal effort, with Kylie co-writing each track and the album featuring songs that nod to her break-up last year.
Radio On is a late-night musing on heartache, and the beautiful Music’s Too Sad Without You, a duet with Jack Savoretti, is possibly the best ballad the Australian pop star has ever recorded.
Kylie proves she still has the Midas touch with an album packed with heart, and soul and glitter on its cowboy boots.
MANIC STREET PREACHERS — RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
The Welsh band have come storming back on to the scene with an impressively eclectic 13th studio album. Their decision to provide a collection of songs that feels almost a summation of their work so far is both the album’s biggest strength and weakness.
They’re unlikely to attract new fans with tracks such as Liverpool Revisited and People Give In, but this doesn’t seem to be the band’s aim, and long-standing fans should feel they have their expectations satisfied, even if the stadium-rock aesthetic seems a slightly stale safe bet.
But just as some of their more suspect album-filler tracks feel a little dated, the standout hits — with Dylan & Caitlin foremost among them — feel as strong as some of Manic Street Preacher’s most recognisable hits.
The Manics aren’t breaking the mould with Resistance Is Futile, but on the strength of their songwriting, they won’t have to.
EELS — THE DECONSTRUCTION
American rock band Eels are back with a highly anticipated new album — their first in four years — ahead of their European tour this summer. Fans of the soothing vocals of singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, who formed the band back in 1995, won’t be disappointed with this eclectic mix.
Title track The Deconstruction will grab your attention slowly but surely, while Premonition stands out for its soulful, acoustic sounds. There are some surprisingly upbeat tracks too — take Today Is The Day, which pops with a sudden tempo change and optimistic tone.
But it’s the beautiful use of string arrangements throughout — especially notable on In Our Cathedral — that makes this really memorable.
HINDS — I DON’T RUN
There’s a lot of youthful exuberance to Madrid four-piece Hinds’ chaotic second album. Every song is packed with spindly riffs and shouty vocals that recall the snotty early records of Weezer and the Strokes.
Unlike those obvious influences, however, there’s a cheerful innocence to the songs.
Although Tester touches on the thorny subject of sex, for the most part there’s an emphasis on the childlike, with deliberately off-key vocals and lyrics that recall playground slogans, such as “I hate your guts!” on Soberland.
A couple of quieter, lo-fi songs apparently recorded in a garden (complete with birdsong) offer a little respite. The stripped-down, acoustic Ma Nuit, in particular (the only song to feature lyrics in Spanish), suggests that the band might mature in an interesting direction, but right now listening to them is a bit like supervising a children’s party — fun at first but exhausting after a while.
KACEY MUSGRAVES — GOLDEN HOUR
The fourth album from Texan country singer Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour, is a collection of dreamy, sometimes ethereal, songs that blend together in a way that many albums never attain.
Opener Slow Burn does exactly what it says and gently leads us into Musgraves’ world for a short while. The combination of honesty in the lyrics and Musgraves’ voice mean that no matter what the subject matter, it’s going to sound good.
Oh What A World is one of the better tracks, but there are several standouts and it doesn’t feel like there is any filler. Perhaps the real standout is Musgraves’ singing.
Golden Hour lands on the poppier side of country, so is a worth a listen to fans of pop, country and anyone who just likes a good record.